Kentucky National Guard Public Affairs Office
Kentucky Army National Guard Soldiers capture terrorists

Press Release Date:  Friday, March 10, 2006  
Contact Information:  Dave Altom 502-607-1562  

TIKRIT, Iraq – Quick thinking Kentucky National Guardsmen captured three terrorists trying to emplace a roadside bomb last month.

Sergeant Nuntawood Smith, Madisonville, Ky., was in the lead vehicle of a security patrol when he observed three males lingering near what appeared to be a disabled vehicle parked on the side of the road with its hood open. The three men began to act suspiciously; one threw items from the car as another man quickly began covering items on the ground with dirt.

Kentucky National Guard Soldiers escort three terrorists after a failed attempt to emplace a roadside bomb.  “We just happened to be at the right place at the right time,” Smith said via e-mail from Iraq.

Sgt. Smith along with other members of the 130th Combat Heavy Engineer Battalion, based in Madisonville, reacted immediately and prevented the suspected terrorists from leaving the area.

Staff Sgt. Troy Piper, Greenville, confirmed the contents inside the vehicle and in a shallow hold just to the side of the vehicle to be components of a roadside bomb.

“Once I searched the vehicle and discovered what was really going on, I was ecstatic that our team had stopped these insurgents from carrying out their mission,” Piper said. “As my entire team secured the site, I was pleased to learn that Sgt. Smith and his patrol gave the insurgents food and water while they waited for the appropriate authorities to take possession of them.”

Both Nuntawood and Piper attribute their quick thinking to the training they received prior to the deployment.

“Our training at Wendell H. Ford Regional Training Center was outstanding for the small period of time we spent there,” Smith said.

“We never had this type of scenario in our training, but all of what you do know kicks in. The enemy is always evolving and it’s hard to keep up with them. But our training is what keeps us going,” he added.

“Everytime my team goes out it feels like an emotional rollercoaster ride,” Piper shared. “But I trust my team with my life and we still train constantly.”

The Kentucky Soldiers are attached to Alpha Copmany, 878th Engineers, which is currently assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. The company also includes members from the Georgia National Guard. The unit was mobilized in September 2005 and deployed in December.

Other Kentucky soldiers involved with the mission include: Sgt. Roy Basham, Bowling Green Ky.; Staff Sgt. Ronald Moore, Wheatcroft, Ky.; Sgt. Daniel Holland, Millport, Ky.; Sgt. Samuel Donaldson, Thomson, Ky; Spec. Scott Lewis, Louisville, Ky.; Spec. Jared Carter, Owensboro, Ky.; Staff Sgt. Sandy Austin, Sgt. Harlan Wilkerson and Sgt. Jared Buntin all of Madisonville, Ky. Also included in the mission were two soldiers from Georgia, Spec. Roy Riner and Sgt. Sam Donaldson.